The Crawfish Frog (Rana areolata) is a species of aquatic frog native to the central United States. It gets its name because crayfish are its primary diet, and it inhabits crayfish burrows. It is also known as the Ringed Frog, in its northern ranges as Hoosier Frog, and in its southern ranges, the Texas Frog. The name "[Frog]" is sometimes misapplied to this species.
The Crawfish Frog grows from 2.2 to 3 inches (5.6 to 7.6 cm) in length. It ranges from yellow to brown in color, with a white ventral surface. There are numerous dark brown spots on its back that each have a light colored ring around them. They have a distinct skin fold
on either side of their back, which are much more pronounced in males than females, and a relatively small tympanum
.the crayfish frog eats plants
Crawfish Frogs are nocturnal
, and mostly aquatic, inhabiting streams
, creeks, and ponds
that have muddy bottoms. Unlike other species of frog commonly found in their range, such as Leopard frogs (Rana blairi
and Rana sphenocephala
) or Bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana
), they are not often found sitting on the edge of the water, but instead prefer to make use of crayfish burrows in the mud, often sharing them with another Crawfish Frog. Their primary diet is crayfish, but they will also consume almost anything else small enough for them to overpower, including various arthropods
, and even other frogs.
Mating occurs in the spring, with the females laying up to 7,000 eggs. The eggs hatch in approximately 12 days, and the tadpoles can take upwards of two years to morph into frogs.
The Crawfish Frog is found from the states of Indiana
west to Nebraska
, south to Texas
and east to Mississippi
, though it is believed to be extirpated
from much of its northern range.
There are two subspecies
of Rana areolata
, divided by geographic range:
- Southern Crawfish Frog, Rana areolata areolata (Baird & Girard, 1852)
- Northern Crawfish Frog, Rana areolata circulosa (Davis and Rice, 1883)
The Crawfish Frog is listed as near threatened
by the IUCN Red List
of Threatned Species, and is listed as endangered
in the state of Iowa